WILDCOAST Women in Conservation

Today we are celebrating and honoring International Women’s Day by recognizing the women at WILDCOAST behind the conservation of some of the most beautiful places in the world!

These women have fought large corporations and stopped big developments in the Cabo Pulmo Marine Reserve; they have collaborated with indigenous communities along the coast of Oaxaca to help protect endangered sea turtles; they have swam with Great White Sharks in order to bring awareness to their protection and importance.

Learn More About Them:

Tannia Frauso, Coordinator for Networking and Conservation Management. 

Tannia is a biologist based in Mexico City, Mexico. She works for the Ramsar project where she collaborates with Mexico’s National Commission for Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) to optimize the management of 142 Ramsar sites in Mexico that consist of internationally important wetlands (mangroves, coastal lagoons, salt marshes, etc.).

“My professional life has been inspired by women like, Jane Goodall, Vandana Shiva and Sylvia Earl. They teach me that  ‘passion and work’ are the key to achieving real sustainability, at WILDCOAST we strive every day to take care of oceans and wildlife”.

Gabriela Ang Montes de O. Program Manager for the Coast of Oaxaca.

Gabriela manages our sea turtle, coral reef, and mangrove conservation projects in the coast of Oaxaca (she has her hands full!).  Gaby’s work includes everything from educating youth on environmental issues, working with indigenous community members to conserve the threatened Olive Ridley sea turtle, and training park rangers on SCUBA diving and coral reef monitoring. “Being a biologist has given me many joys in life and it has allowed me to know and get a close understanding of this wonderful world, especially the marine world, full of life with its imposing complexity and beauty that traps you.”


Monica Franco, Deputy Director for COSTASALVAJE

Monica supports  ALL of COSTASALVAJE’s conservation programs in Mexico. She is a force to be reckoned with in the world of conservation. Monica is a biologist and firmly believes in the power of the ocean and the importance of protecting it. “As a biologist, I feel incredible proud of the work we do in WILDCOAST because conserve the places and wildlife that I adore. As a woman, because our organization is an example of what happens to nature and our society when we give opportunities for women to thrive in the field of conservation. You see, most of our field coordinators in Mexico are woman and they are key for the success and impact that we have in the country.”

Diane Castaneda, Communications Coordinator.

Diane has been working in the conservation field for over 7 years. She has educated over 6,000 students in San Diego county on marine ecology and conservation, and taken over 500 students to enjoy and engaged in their local marine protected areas because she strongly believes that “you protect what you love”.   “Working in conservation was my passion as I was growing up. I knew I wanted (and I needed) to part of the movement to protect our beautiful planet. After I became a mother this mission became more significant, because I knew that the work I was doing was for my daughter and every future generation to come. Raising and teaching our youth to take care, respect and love of our oceans and wildlife is key to conserve our planet healthy.”

Sofia Goméz Vallarta, Program Coordinator, Los Cabos Region & Vizcaino Peninsula.

Sofia’s work is to conserve and protect the most beautiful and robust marine protected area in the world! Sounds hard? Well nobody can do the job better than Sofia! Just 2 minutes with her and her passion for ocean conservation will be transmited to you.  “I am passionate about education and in my opinion women play a fundamental role in the education of families around the world. Working for WILDCOAST has given me the opportunity, among other things, to share with women sustainable practices that can be implemented in the home which has been a wonderful experience full of learning. I know women who work as rangers, as researchers, as project managers, as agents of government and all of them have been a great inspiration for me. “

Fay Crevoshay, Communications and Policy Director.

Fay is a force of nature! She has been instrumental in the protection of some of the most important and beautiful places in the world including the beautiful Baja coastline and Cabo Pulmo marine reserve. You probably know about sea turtle conservation thanks to her, she was responsible for campaigns on behalf of sea turtles, whales, mangroves, and coral reefs that have been reported by the Wall Street Journal, NPR, New York Times, BBC, Televisa, Univision, among many many others. Fay’s “My Man Doesn’t Eat Sea Turtle Eggs” Campaign was called, “The best ocean campaign in human history” by conservation communication guru Randy Olson.

Fay Crevoshay of Wildcoast next to reforested Red Mangrove (Rhizophora mangle), Playa Mayabeque, Mayabeque, Cuba, September

Gabriela Garcia Besné, Conservation Program Coordinator for Oaxaca

Gaby leads our sea turtle conservation projects on the coast of Oaxaca, and she is very passionate about minimizing the negative effects pollutants have on wildlife and our coast. She is a biologist, a conservationist, and a mom, which makes her a triple threat for conserving our oceans. “I have had the fortune of being in touch with the purest and most incredible nature that surrounds us and I want my son to have the same possibility. That is why I work hard day by day to conserve the wonders of this planet. Always follow your dreams!”

Celeste Ortega, Marine Conservation Program Coordinator

Celeste is marine biologist responsible for our conservation programs in the Gulf of California and Bahia Magdalena. Celeste works with the Mexican government and in collaboration with community members, to conserve over 60,000 acres of mangrove forest, the biggest wetland in the Baja California peninsula. “As a marine biologist, working on the conservation of coastal ecosystems has been a wonderful experience, it has given me the opportunity to better understand and appreciate our natural resources. In addition, it has given me the opportunity to in a place that recognizes the fundamental role that women play in conservation. Working hand in hand with women from my organization and from the communities, and learning from all their knowledge, gives me hope that a better future is possible.”

Cristhabel Verdugo, U.S.-Mexico Border Coordinator

All our work is tough, but try working with two countries to stop a decades long cross-border pollution problem. Cristhabel’s work includes coordinating WILDCOAST efforts minimize the negative impact of the pollution of the Tijuana River and our coast in Northern Baja and San Diego. Like all our coordinators, Cristhabel is passionate about cleaning up our rivers, wetlands, and oceans for future generation, especially her kids.  “I experience the perfect combination between being a woman and turning your profesion into your passion. It truly is the greatest satisfaction and I experience it every day being part of WILDCOAST. Here your work is an important piece to solving environmental problems.”

Rosa Osuna, Administrative Assistant

Rosa works at our Ensenada office and is the glue that holds COSTASALVAJE (our Mexican offices) together! She was raised in the Todos Santos Island in Baja California, surrounded by ocean, so it was only natural that her work and passion would revolve around ocean conservation.


Yolanda Garces, Executive Assistant.

Yolanda is the other glue that holds WILDCOAST (offices in Imperial Beach, CA) together! A Venezuela native, a country that takes great pride in their natural protected areas, it’s no wonder that her road in life took her to conservation work.

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